Why Chicago Consistently Wins Best Big City in the US by Conde Nast 2024

welcome back to wonderfully lost a travel Community for par...

welcome back to wonderfully lost a
travel Community for parents by parents
for today's video we're rounding up our
top seven picks for easy weekend
getaways from Chicago Illinois by the
time you're back you'll start seeing the
windy city in a new and Serene light
Starved Rock State Park Illinois picture
this cascading waterfalls towering lush
green trees and a breathtaking landscape
before you if you think this is too good
to be true try visiting Starved Rock
State Park located just an hour and a
half away from all the noise and Chaos
of Chicago there's no other places
perfect as Starved Rock State Park to
escape all the skyscrapers and the noise
here you won't just feel rejuvenated but
you'll see nature as you never have
before just remember to pack the right
gear since you'll be hiking or trekking
for most of the way with its 18 Canyons
Starved Rock State Park is a Haven for
adventure enthusiasts offering an array
of deep Sandstone Canyons for you to
hike on and explore there's a lot to do
at Starved Rock State Park even if
you're only there for a weekend getaway
we'd recommend that you bask in nature
as during Springtime the wonderful
waterfalls truly come to life during
fall you'll find yourself mesmerized by
the breathtaking display of orange red
and yellow foliage no matter what time
you decide to visit there's something
for everyone luckily you can maximize
your comfort and not worry about
accommodations since the Starved Rock
Lodge offers comfortable accommodations
with top-notch cabins however if you're
traveling with kids or seeking more
family-friendly options you'll find the
quirky Grizzly Jacks Grand Bear Resort
here you can find a massive Water Park
Indoor arcade and mini golf by the time
you leave your kids will be thanking you
for the great time they had is loving
the air for you consider staying at the
Romantic Camp arimony which is located
nearby here you'll find a luxurious
camping experience with Safari tents
equipped with hardwood floors Air
Conditioning Heating and full bathrooms
with showers it provides the Perfect
Blend of nature charm and luxury New
Glarus Wisconsin nestled in the Charming
state of Wisconsin new glaruses for all
weary City residents seeking a Serene
weekend Escape if you want to experience
small town charm and feel relaxed right
to your very bones then you need to add
New Glarus Wisconsin to your travel list
situated about three hours from Chicago
this quaint Swiss inspired Village
offers an array of absolutely
breathtaking picturesque Landscapes as
you wander through the town's
cobblestone streets and traditional
Swiss star buildings you'll feel
transported to a European Paradise
nothing beats New Glarus in that regard
since the quaint and cozy Village is
renowned for its deep-rooted Swiss
Heritage you'll find this Heritage
reflected around the entire Village and
if you've got children with you this can
be be a great learning opportunity for
them as well at New Glarus you can
immerse yourself in the culture by
visiting local cheese shops sampling
delectable Swiss chocolates and savoring
authentic Swiss Cuisine and if you're an
adventure lover don't fret at New Glarus
you'll find yourself transported to
heaven with breathtakingly beautiful
hiking trails each time you stop to
catch a breath you'll find yourself
gazing at panoramic views of the Rolling
Hills and Lush Countryside lastly while
they're in New Glarus make sure that you
don't miss the New Glarus Brewing
Company which is known for its
exceptional craft beers and Brewery
tours hey are you a Wanderer yet if not
head on over to our travel blog at
wonderfully losttravel.com like Geneva
Wisconsin Chicago is a beautiful city
but in order to live in a big city you
have to compromise on certain things one
of the things that you have to give up
living in Chicago is the beach luckily
located at a drive that takes less than
an hour and a half you'll find the
Ethereal Lake Geneva in Wisconsin
stunning to visit at any time of the
year here you'll find access to a
dazzling array of activities during the
Summers you can enjoy boating on the
lake and bask in the sun on the pristine
Shoreline if you love an adrenaline rush
you can zipline across the hiking trail
too if you visit in the winter pay a
visit to the ice castles and find
yourself absolutely Blown Away by
icicles that seem too beautiful to be
real even though Lake Geneva is frozen
over in the winter you can still stroll
through the Geneva Lake Shore path a
25-mile trail that allows you to explore
a vast gorgeous area
Galena Illinois if you're a history buff
then you need to head over to Galena
Illinois situated in the western corner
of Illinois at just a one tank trip away
you'll discover The Rustic and Charming
town of Galena as for the town's unique
name Galena derives its name from the
mineral Galena which sparked the first
major mineral rush in the United States
brimming with Rich history and culture
this gem is proudly listed on the
national register of historic places and
it's not difficult to see why boasting a
rich Heritage with wonderful 19th
century architecture Rolling Hills and a
plethora of delightful Resorts you'll
find Galena to be nothing short of
spectacular the town's quaint and
captivating atmosphere makes it an ideal
destination for a historic weekend
getaway where you can bask in nature
while being educated too if you plan
your visit accordingly you'll have the
chance to visit the exhilarating great
Galena balloon race an annual spectacle
that should not be missed Marvel at the
enchanting site of more than 20 hot air
balloons taking to the skies as the
event features three races a captivating
night glow Extravaganza bounce houses
live music and a host of other exciting
activities this three-day Extravaganza
promises a truly magical and
Unforgettable experience for all who
Saugatuck Michigan often referred to as
the art coast of Michigan Saugatuck is a
must-visit destination for all the
lovers of the Finer Things in life
located 130 miles away from Chicago
Saugatuck Michigan is brimming with art
galleries fine dining eateries and
restaurants and magnificent beaches
despite the fact that the town has a
population of less than a thousand
Saugatuck is also known for its
electrifying nightlife so you might want
to sit the kids out for this trip much
like Galena Saugatuck also has a rich
and deep history pay a visit to the 100
year old Saugatuck drugstore and you'll
get to experience the town's traditional
side we'd suggest that while you're here
get your hands on a classic molt or an
ice cream soda trust us your taste buds
will thank you later other sites that
you can visit include the chain Ferry
which might just be the last one of its
kind in the U.S for All You Adventure
lovers climb up to the top of Mount bald
head or Mount Baldy to enjoy a bird's
eye view of the surrounding area all
alternatively if you're someone who
loves the quiet and just wants to relax
check out the Oval Beach and feel your
spirit come back to life Indiana Dunes
National Park Indiana only a short drive
of less than an hour from Chicago lies
the enchanting Indiana Dunes National
Park and guess what even if you find
yourself pressed for time it's still an
achievable day trip thanks to the
convenience of the South Shoreline which
means you won't have to spend hours on
the road boasting an impressive 15-mile
stretch along the shoreline of Lake
Michigan the Indiana Dunes National Park
is every bit as beautiful as it is
convenient you can engage in a variety
of activities at this National Park
either lace up your hiking boots and
explore the stunning dunes or let the
wind carry your spirits high as you fly
a kite on the sandy beach for a touch of
Adventure saddle up for a memorable
horseback ride through the scenic
landscape and for all you history Buffs
make sure you check out the 1933 World
space Century of progress home times
where you can step back in time for a
little while Wisconsin Dells Wisconsin
just 190 miles away from Chicago
Wisconsin Dells is the go-to stop for
families looking for a bit of fun at
this vibrant and playful destination you
can stay at one of the water park
resorts to really pump up the fun for
everyone the Great Wolf Lodge stands out
as a top pick among visitors and it's
easy to see why with endless amenities
Northwoods decor and the feeling of
being in the Caribbean who wouldn't want
to stay here if you want to experience
all the thrill of Florida without
breaking your Bank Wisconsin Dells is
the place for you there's a dazzling
array of entertainment options to choose
from catch a show at The Palace Theater
or entertain yourself at the Rick Wilcox
Magic Theater if you're looking for
something quiet visit the Mirror Lake
State Park for access to a no Wake Lake
and Scenic hiking trails on that Serene
note happy relaxing Travelers thanks for
watching see you next time

Yet again this year, Conde Nast Traveler’s readers cast their votes, ultimately naming Chicago as the “Best Big City in the US.” For the seventh year in a row, the Windy City beat out competition from other US cities like San Diego, Milwaukee, and New Orleans among others for the top prize.

Conde Nast carried out a survey among its readers for its 36th annual Readers’ Choice Awards. The outcome reflects the enduring appeal of established winners and the emergence of promising newcomers. This year’s accolades span a wide range, encompassing the finest domestic and international hotels, top-notch airports, luggage brands, and exceptional airlines.

There were several changes in the pecking order except for one. Chicago retained its title as the top big city in the US, maintaining its stellar reputation. San Diego leaped from third place to second spot, while Honolulu, which was a runner-up last year, didn’t make the list this time.

Chicago’s latest accolade is no coincidence, as the city’s unique combination of culture, culinary delights, stunning architecture, and welcoming atmosphere makes it a standout destination. In this article, we shall give you the top 5 reasons why the Windy City has been a consistent winner of Conde Nast’s top prize;

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5. Chicago’s Architectural Marvels and Impressive Transport Network

Chicago, often hailed as the birthplace of the modern skyscraper, is a city renowned for its architectural brilliance and remarkable transportation infrastructure. From iconic skyscrapers that pierce the skyline to an intricate network of roads, rails, and waterways, the Windy City showcases the convergence of architectural marvels and an efficient transport system that seamlessly connects its residents and visitors.

Architectural marvels

The Willis Tower, once known as the Sears Tower, stands as an iconic symbol of Chicago. Completed in 1973, it held the title of the world’s tallest building for 25 years. Its towering presence, coupled with its innovative design, showcases Chicago’s architectural ambition. Visitors can step onto the famous Skydeck, perched on the 103rd floor, for awe-inspiring panoramic views of the city.

Another prominent fixture in the Chicago skyline is the John Hancock Center. Designed by architect Bruce Graham, this 100-story skyscraper boasts distinctive X-bracing on its exterior. It is home to a 360 Chicago Observation Deck, providing breathtaking vistas of the city, Lake Michigan, and beyond.

For fans of architectural history, the Robie House is a must-visit. Designed by the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright, this Prairie-style masterpiece exemplifies Wright’s philosophy of organic architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Impressive transport network

Chicago’s public transportation system, operated by the CTA, is an efficient and affordable way to get around the city. The “L” train system, with its elevated tracks, connects various neighborhoods and downtown, making it easy for commuters and tourists to navigate the city. The extensive bus network complements the “L” system, ensuring that almost every corner of Chicago is accessible by public transport.

As one of the world’s busiest airports, O’Hare International Airport plays a vital role in connecting Chicago to the rest of the world. With a variety of domestic and international flights, O’Hare offers travelers a gateway to Chicago and the broader Midwest.

4. Chicago’s melting pot of cuisines

With 77 neighborhoods, Chicago is one of the most diverse culinary destinations in the US. Each neighborhood offers a distinct dining experience that reflects the area’s cultural heritage. From deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs to gourmet dining experiences that cater to all palates, the Windy City serves up a delectable array of flavors.

Culinary diversity

Chicago’s history is one of immigration, and these diverse waves of newcomers have all brought their unique culinary traditions with them. This fusion of cultures has given rise to a culinary melting pot, where you can sample authentic dishes from around the world without leaving the city limits.

For example, in Pilsen, you will find authentic Mexican taquerias and markets, while in Little Italy, Italian restaurants serve up classic pasta dishes and cannoli. Food trucks and stalls can also be found throughout the city, offering mouthwatering international street food, from tacos and empanadas to banh mi sandwiches and samosas.

Food festivals

Chicago celebrates its culinary diversity through various food festivals throughout the year. Events like Taste of Chicago, which is one of the largest food festivals in the country, bring together a wide range of cuisines in one place. These festivals provide an opportunity to sample diverse dishes and connect with chefs from various backgrounds.

3. Chicago’s rich diversity

Chicago is celebrated for many things such as its iconic architecture, culinary delights, and captivating skyline. However, what truly sets Chicago apart is its remarkable cultural diversity.

Colorful diversity

The city is a melting pot where people from all walks of life have come together to create a rich tapestry of traditions, languages, and celebrations. Chicago’s cultural diversity is evident in its 77 neighborhoods.

For example, Pilsen, located on the city’s Lower West Side, is known for its strong Mexican influence. Visitors can stroll through streets adorned with colorful murals, dine on authentic Mexican cuisine, and experience the vibrant Day of the Dead celebrations. In contrast, the South Side neighborhood of Bronzeville is deeply rooted in African-American history.

World-class museums

Chicago is also home to world-class museums and cultural institutions that pay homage to its diverse population. The National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen exhibits an extensive collection of Mexican art, while the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in Ukrainian Village promotes contemporary Ukrainian art and culture.

The Chinese-American Museum of Chicago, the DuSable Museum of African-American History, and the Indo-American Heritage Museum are other examples of institutions that educate visitors about the rich cultural contributions of different communities.

2. Chicago’s Symphony of Entertainment

Chicago is a city that pulses to the rhythm of music, where diverse melodies harmonize with the heartbeat of its neighborhoods. Chicago’s music and entertainment scene is a rich tapestry of traditions, from blues and jazz to rock, hip-hop, and classical music.

Home of the blues

Chicago holds a special place in the history of blues music. New Orleans might have conjured the genre but Chicago took it to a whole new level. The city was a magnet for African-American musicians during the Great Migration, and it was here that they forged the electrified, urban blues sound that would become iconic.

Legends like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Buddy Guy transformed the city’s South Side clubs into incubators for this new style. Blues enthusiasts can still experience this musical heritage at venues like Buddy Guy’s Legends, where the genre thrives in all its glory.

Music festivals

Throughout the year, the city comes alive with a multitude of festivals that celebrate a wide range of music genres and artistic expressions. Lollapalooza is one of the most renowned music festivals. Every August, Grant Park transforms into a sprawling oasis of music, art, and culinary experiences. Lollapalooza attracts top-tier artists from various genres, including rock, pop, hip-hop, and electronic music.

Additionally, the Chicago Blues Festival pays homage to this rich musical heritage. This free event, held in Millennium Park, features some of the most exceptional blues acts from around the globe. With passionate performances that touch the soul, it’s a must-visit for both long-time blues lovers and those new to the genre.

Pitchfork Music Festival is a mecca for indie music lovers. Each July, Union Park hosts this festival, featuring a carefully curated lineup of independent and alternative artists. The event is known for its intimate atmosphere, allowing festival-goers to get up close and personal with emerging and established musicians.

1. Chicago’s family-friendly outdoors

Chicago, the vibrant and bustling metropolis on the shores of Lake Michigan, is often recognized for its stunning skyline, rich cultural scene, and delectable cuisine. However, Chicago also boasts an array of family-friendly outdoor spaces that make it an ideal destination for an adventure with your loved ones.

Wildlife encounters

Families can enjoy fascinating wildlife encounters at one of the oldest zoos in the country. Founded in 1868, Lincoln Park Zoo is a remarkable destination for wildlife enthusiasts of all ages. The zoo is home to over 200 species, including lions, tigers, and bears, as well as countless birds and reptiles. What’s even better is that admission to this family-friendly attraction is free, making it accessible to everyone.

Exceptional backdrops

Chicago also sprawls with so many exceptional backdrops for those insta-worthy family pictures. Millennium Park is renowned for its iconic “Bean” sculpture and world-class art installations making it a fantastic photo-op for families. On the other hand, the interactive Crown Fountain provides endless fun with its playful water features making it a worthy alternative.

Bustling outdoors

To keep the smiles on, families can head to Maggie Daley Park, located just east of Millennium Park. The public park offers an enchanting play space for children. The Kids Play Garden, a whimsical area designed for younger kids, features slides, swings, and whimsical sculptures. For older children, the park’s climbing wall, mini-golf course, and skating ribbon provide endless opportunities for active fun.

For those active kids, the 606 is a wonderful itinerary. The 606, a former railway line transformed into an elevated trail, offers a unique way to explore the city. Perfect for biking, walking, and running, this trail is dotted with beautiful parks, art installations, and scenic overlooks. It’s a fantastic spot for families to get some exercise and experience a different perspective of Chicago.

Maggie Daley Park Map

Wonderful beaches

With its beautiful shoreline along Lake Michigan, Chicago is home to several family-friendly beaches. Foster Beach, Montrose Beach, and North Avenue Beach are just a few examples. These sandy expanses are perfect for building sandcastles, enjoying a game of beach volleyball, or simply basking in the sun. Many beaches also offer water activities, including kayaking and paddleboarding.

Chicago’s consistent recognition as the “Best Big City in the US” by Conde Nast Traveler is a testament to the city’s enduring appeal. Its rich cultural diversity, world-class museums, stunning architecture, culinary delights, and welcoming atmosphere make it a standout destination.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, Chicago’s unique charm and its ability to continually evolve and surprise make it a city that truly deserves its place at the top of the list of America’s best big cities.

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